Lily May Humphreys, from Stoke by Nayland Golf Club, won England Golf’s Rising Star Award – and no wonder! She won her first national championship when she was 13 and her second at 14. At 15 she won English, British and European titles – among others. This year, at 16, she has won again and played for GB&I in the Curtis Cup. Her story begins at Topgolf, where she fell in love with the game, before becoming involved in Essex and England coaching.
How did you start golf?
My brother took me to Topgolf when I was 10 and I loved it. Richard, the coach, was great fun and he’s been my coach ever since. If I hadn’t gone there I would never have known that golf would become my sport.
What do you love about golf?
You meet so many unique people from all around the world and make special friendships.
When did you join a club and get your first handicap?
When I was ten. I did three cards with the junior organiser and got a club handicap of 44. I was a five handicap at 11.
Do you remember your first competition?
I played in my club monthly medal and I took 11 shots to get out of brambles because no one told me I could take a drop!
It clearly didn’t put you off! What do you enjoy about competition?
I love competing and trying to get the best score I can. When the round is finished I socialise and have fun with the other competitors.
How much do you practice?
Most days during the winter and between travelling and competitions during the season. I usually practice my short game and putting for a couple of hours then go on the range to practice my long game. If a competition is coming up I will play holes on the course.
What’s the best part of your game?
Putting and short game
What’s your best golfing moment so far?
I’ve had lots but probably winning the Helen Holm (Scottish open) as that more or less guaranteed my place in the Curtis Cup team
Worst golfing moment so far?
When a girl deliberately got me DQ in a competition
Who has encouraged/helped you – and in what way?
My Dad and Amelia Williamson (a fellow England squad player). My Dad because he spends all his time taking me to competitions and training. Amelia because she took me under her wing when I first went abroad with the England girls’ team and she’s been my best friend and supported me ever since.
How does your England training help?
There is a great support network as well as coaching, physio, psychology and strength and conditioning. I get help with arranging playing schedules and advice on what competitions to play in.
How special is it to play for your country?
It is an honour and makes me and my family really proud. Playing for England has given me so many opportunities to play in top competitions around the world
How good do you want to be?
I want to be the best I can be and see where that takes me.
What are your interests outside golf?
When I’m not playing or competing I like to relax at home with my cat and my family. I also catch up with my friends that I don’t see so much when I’m away travelling
Have you encouraged more girls to get into golf?
I was an ambassador for Girls Golf Rocks when it was first trialed in Essex. It was really fun and lots of girls who had never played before came along and had a really good time. Many of the girls did continue to get coaching and join golf clubs.
Your advice for would-be golfers?
Just give it a try and you may be surprised at how much fun you can have and you may find out that you have a talent for it. That’s how I started and I can’t imagine what I would be doing now if I hadn’t got into golf.
• Inspired by Lily May to Get into Golf? Visit www.getintogolf.org to find free and low cost beginner activities across the country
Caption: Lily May with the English women’s amateur trophy (copyright Leaderboard Photography).